Tyson Tennessee Plants in Good Shape During COVID-19, Local Officials Say, Despite HQ’s Dire Warnings


Tyson Foods has four locations in Tennessee, and if the one in Union City ever closed then it would dent Obion County’s tax revenue in a big way, said County Mayor Benny McGuire.

Tyson officials took out dire newspaper ads this past weekend. Those ads warned that America’s food supply chain might nearly collapse because of the way the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted some of their facilities.

McGuire told The Tennessee Star Monday that Tyson’s Union City plant hypothetically closing, even temporarily, would put 1,500 local people out of work.

“I don’t know how much tax revenue the place generates for our county, but it is a pretty big amount,” McGuire said.

“But the people who run our Tyson plant are good neighbors, and the people at the facility are following all of the COVID-19 regulations that they are supposed to.”

Worth Sparkman, spokesman for the Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods headquarters, told The Star in a statement Monday that employees at all Tyson facilities do take proper precautions. Among other things, he said they use infrared thermometers to check the temperature of team members before they enter company facilities. They restrict visitor access. They also coordinate with federal agencies to emphasize the need for Personal Protective Equipment, he said.

“Our plant production areas are sanitized daily to ensure food safety, and we have stepped up deep cleaning and sanitizing of our facilities, especially in employee breakrooms, locker rooms and other areas to protect our team members,” Sparkman said.

“We have team members dedicated to constantly wiping down and sanitizing common areas. In some cases, this additional cleaning involves suspending a day of production.”

In Tennessee, Tyson also has plants in Goodlettsville, Newbern, and Shelbyville, according to the company website.

Goodlettsville City Manager Tim Ellis said Monday that he speaks with management at his city’s plant two to three times per week to make sure they meet and exceed safety standards. He said some employees recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Local elected officials at the local and county levels in Newbern and Shelbyville did not return repeated requests for comment Monday.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected] 
Photo “Tyson Foods” by Tyson Foods.




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